1976 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible
Tonto Basin, AZ, 85553
VIN #: 6L67S60113392
Drive Type: FWD
Exterior: Dark Brown
1976 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible - Standard, I have owned this car for 11 years, having “rescued” it from a carport in Mesa, Arizona. The car had been parked for at least 10 years, covered with blankets and sheets. The owner was quite elderly and no longer drove. The car could best be described as “ran when parked.”
The odometer showed almost 68,000 miles; I believe the mileage is accurate.
Highlights: I believe this car could be worth around $30,000, asking price is $15,000. It is a 1976 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible with 68,000 original miles. It was repainted in 2015 in its original Dark Brown metallic paint with new fender and bumper extensions. A new light brown Convertible Top was just installed in 2021 replacing an older non-original white top. The power windows and power front bench seat work. Included are Parade Tops and the original soft top cover. The engine runs very well, brakes are excellent, exhaust system is in good condition. Seats are original tan leather and are free from tears. The dashboard soft surface has a crack and the door panels are in poor condition. Carpet is original in fairly condition. It has its original carpeted floor mats which need replaced. A/C is not currently working but has been converted to R134A refrigerant. The car also has an anti-theft horn and a parade siren (yes – a siren – operated by a switch under the dash.) The car came to me with Appliance Aluminum wheels; I don’t have the original wheels and hubcaps. I did find original, Eldorado/Tornado, steel wheels which would have come on the car.
The original keys are in their leather dealer provided case embossed with “Hartigan Cadillac Inc., 200 N. Northwest Highway, Park Ridge, Ill., TA 5-6601.” The owner told me his son purchased the car from the original owner and gave it to his father. The father moved west living in Nevada and eventually to Arizona. Despite the car being originally from the Chicago area, it showed no rust; I was told it had been garage kept and only used on nice Chicago days. However, long years of storage took its toll on the car's finishes.
In 2010, when I purchased the car, all it needed to run and drive was a battery, fuel pump, and tires. A inspection of the car revealed both good and bad. The good:
· Sheet Metal – straight, only a small dent on the trunk lid above the bumper
· Trim and bumpers were good
· Leather Seating surfaces - good, no cracks or tears
· Carpeting - some soiling and light wear.
· Engine and Transmission - started up with fresh fuel, tranny shifted smoothly.
· Convertible Top Outer Material was in Good Condition. The top motor and roof frame worked but needed adjusting. (The black under-surface of the top was dry rotted.)
· Dashboard – gages, switches, and controls worked. (The map light needed to be replaced however.)
The not so good / bad:
· Paint – beyond repair – the original lacquer paint was “alligator” cracked: Repainted in 2015
· Rear Fender extensions and bumper fillers cracked: Replaced in 2015/
· Gas Tank – Inside rust from long storage: Replaced
· Fuel Sending Unit and Pick up tube – very poor condition: Replaced
· Door panels – faux leather surfaces were brittle and the lightest touch caused breakage: Not repaired.
· Power Antenna was inoperative: Removed, could not repair.
· Passenger Side Sun visor mount broken: Replaced
· Vacuum Powered air compressor for the rear suspension was inoperative: Removed, unrepairable, replaced with Air Shocks
· Passenger side power door lock inoperative: Not Repaired
· Master Brake Cylinder and Brake Pads worked, but for safety reasons needed replaced: Completed
· Drivers side front drive axle needed to be replaced: Completed
· Quadrajet Carb needed rebuilt: Completed
· Transmission – needed new modulator, pan gaskets: Completed
· Trunk and Window seals: Trunk Seal replaced.
· Air Conditioning System: Converted to R134A – Compressor needs replaced.
· Catalytic Converter: Removed, it was plugged, could not source a direct replacement.
As mentioned, the first project was an engine repair (2010). Driving with bad gas caused the valve stems to freeze in the valve guides causing push rod and lifter damage. I removed the heads and had them inspected by a machine shop. The valves and guides were not damaged and only required removal and cleaning. He replaced the valve stem seals. I reinstalled the heads, replacing the push rods, lifters, and installed a new windage tray.
The second project was replacing the heater core (2011). Always a tedious project and it wasn't the first time the dash had been removed. Also, the digital clock does not work.
Next I tackled the gas tank (2011). I removed the tank inspected it. The exterior of the tank was rust free and there were no leaks. The car sat with 2/3rds of a tank of gas in it. The metal above the liquid fuel line was rusted and the roof was full of “rust stalactites.” I cleaned the inside of the tank using a POR-15 gas tank restoration system consisting of cleaner, self-etching primer, and tank coating. The fuel sending unit did not work being badly corroded. I could not find a replacement. I sent the unit out to be rebuilt. Once complete, I reinstalled the tank and had no more issues with rust or corrosion in the tank or contaminated fuel. Note – In early 2021 I needed to replace a rubber line attaching the metal fuel pipe coming out of the tank. I removed the tank and inspected it to make sure the paint/sealer had not failed. The POR-15 gas tank coating was in perfect condition. I was able to purchase a new fuel sending unit and pickup tube and replaced the replaced the rebuilt unit. I am absolutely satisfied the tank is perfect.
I replaced the Master Brake Cylinder and the rear calipers and new pads on all four corners. The brakes work amazingly well to this day.
I removed and attempted to service the Vacuum Air Compressor (2012). The diaphragm was split and the storage chamber was filled with rust. I could not source a replacement diaphragm so I removed the pump and replaced the rear shock absorbers with air shocks. (The disassembled Vacuum Compressor and original shock absorbers come with the car.)
I attempted to repair the radio antenna but could not. Again, I kept the pieces and parts which will come with the car. I did purchase a Cadillac power antenna off of EBAY which turned out to be different from the original and would not fit the Eldorado fender and mounting points on the inner fender.
I replaced the original 8-track player and radio, which did work, with a Retro-Sound radio and temporary stubby radio antenna. The original 8-track radio comes with the car.
I found a passenger side visor mounting bracket and installed it (not without cracking the windshield and having to have it replaced). I was able to re-install the visor. However, the flap door that exposes the mirror was already broken, so I did not reconnect the electric wire to the visor light.
I also had to find a replacement turn signal stalk with the cruise control button as the one on car broke off at an old repair. New replacements were not available at the time and had to purchase a used one from the Cadillac Heaven in Leland, North Carolina. Unfortunately, while working on the car, it rolled out of the garage and hit a willow tree causing minor damage to the left front fender. This was repaired when the car was painted in 2015.
In 2015 I had the car repainted. I can make pictures available. All body trim, bumpers, and body filler were removed. The old paint was sanded down and all imperfections repaired. One rust spot was found at the front of the passenger side rear wheel well, under the rocker panel trim piece. The rusted metal was cut out and new metal welded in. After several coats of primer was applied and sanded, base coat and clear coat were applied.
In the past two years my chief goal was to repair or replace the convertible top. This project would require a trip to Phoenix. It took almost two years to get there! A fuel starvation problem developed caused by a collapsed rubber hose at the fuel tank. In the process of trouble shooting this, I replaced the fuel pump, fixed a broken speedometer drive, then a broken speedometer cable, and also a broken thermo-vacuum valve. The top replacement was left to AATCO (Arizona Auto Trim Co.)